With so many pet food companies in the market, how do you know which ones are transparent? This DIY rating system can help you figure it out.
Sometimes the label doesn’t tell the whole story. This was true in 2007 when the FDA learned that melamine, imported in various proteins from China, had contaminated a number of pet food products. This contamination resulted in the largest recorded pet food recall, along with thousands of cat and dog deaths. After this devastating event, the United States Congress developed the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA), with section Title X requiring the FDA to improve the safety of pet food through new regulations for labeling, ingredients, and processing standards. However, despite these changes, over ten years later, the majority of pet food companies are still finding ways to hide pertinent information from their consumers. In other words, they aren’t truly transparent.
What exactly is transparency?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) stipulates exactly what should be printed on pet food labels. However, true transparency goes further than what is on the label. Because what an animal eats directly affects their quality of life, the consumer should know exactly what is in their pet’s food, and that they can trust the company behind the product. True transparency is when a company is demonstrated publicly open and honest about all elements of their products – from ingredient sourcing to the nutritional benefits and everything in between.
How to assess a pet food brand
Although there is no official transparency assessment, below is a five level rating system to help you evaluate how transparent the brand of food you feed your pet is.
TRANSPARENCY RATING SYSTEM
||The company only prints on their packaging what is required, such as ingredients, guaranteed analysis, website link and contact information.|
||Within the website, the company provides access to ingredient sourcing information and detailed nutritional data.|
||Pet parents are provided proof that the label claims are not just marketing lingo used to sell a product. For example, consider the price point of a pet food in comparison to what is advertised on the label. Pet parents need to understand that there is a physical cost to making a good product. If the price is too low to match key phrasing such as “fresh meat” or “only the highest quality ingredients”, then it is probably too good to be true.|
||The company is open about what occurs “behind the scenes” through the manufacturing process. This could be shown through a link to the recipe formula, manufacturing testimonials, or even images of the factory.|
||Lab reports for each batch of pet food produced by the company are made accessible to the public, along with verification by the manufacturer that the package label matches the ingredients within the product. This guarantees that a company is in full regulatory compliance.|
Currently, the word transparency is used loosely because there are no set parameters to define it. However, a few companies such as PureLUXE have a mission to open consumers’ eyes to the importance of clean, trustworthy ingredients used by dependable brands. By setting a standard of Elite Transparency, they are raising the bar to encourage other companies to be fully ethical, accountable and transparent. The hope is that by giving pet parents access to this key information, they’ll have the tools to make the best nutritional decisions for their furry friends.